I thought you might like an update on our Tuberculosis case.
Last December a student graduated from Snow College and returned to her home feeling sick. She went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a case of active Tuberculosis (TB). From the time we discovered the TB case the Health Department and College have been working together to test all students, faculty and staff who might possibly have been in direct contact with the former student. The good news is that after testing more than 400 people there has yet to be any active TB found on our campus, and the Public Health Department does not expect that any will be found.
I mentioned we have not found anyone with “active” TB and despite looking hard the Health Department does not expect to find anyone with active TB. When a person first contracts TB it is in a latent form (not active). It remains latent for 18-24 months. It is after this latent period, if and when the disease becomes active, that people are contagious and exhibit symptoms. The disease is highly treatable, particularly during the latent period. Consequently, if our former student transmitted the disease to anyone last year it would still be in a latent form in the new person. The Website, www.cdc.gov, is a great resource to learn about TB and can help dispel any myths you may have heard.
We have been very aggressive in testing all students, faculty and staff who might have contracted the disease from our former student. The College and Local Health department determined to test a larger sample of people than was probably necessary. To date we have tested all international students, most students who were in the former student’s dorm hall and in any of her classes. Her faculty and many of the staff have also been tested. The Health Department still has a little more testing to conduct and review. They will be calling any remaining classmates or other close contacts who have yet to be tested. Anyone else on our campus who is concerned and wants to be tested should call my office at 283-7010 or the Health Department at 835-2231.
I realize this situation is concerning to many on our Ephraim campus and parents of our students. However, based on test results and information from the Health Department, we should all be breathing a big sigh of relief.
The great news is this: (1) anyone who we discover has a latent form of TB will be treated; (2) we can say with more confidence than any other college or university in Utah that we are completely free of active TB: (3) we are one of only a few colleges in Utah where all international students have been tested; and (4) we have a new policy where all international students will be tested when they arrive, which is not a common practice in the state.
We feel sorry for the stress this incident has caused but we have learned from it. Despite what you might have heard from the Salt Lake media we have not found any active cases of TB in Ephraim or Richfield; the College will remain open, and now, more so than ever, we are the safest college in Utah. (Call home and tell your mothers not to worry.)
Please let me know if you have any questions.
President Scott Wyatt